Third Straight Pole On The Menu For Alain In China

by Peter Allen
Alain Menu - Photo Credit: FIA WTCC

Alain Menu continued his strong run of form on Saturdays in the World Touring Car Championship by claiming his third consecutive pole position in qualifying for the Race of China in Shanghai.

The Swiss driver edged out Chevrolet teammate Yvan Muller by 0.026 seconds in the decisive Q2 session.

BMW driver Norbert Michelisz prevented a Cruze lockout of the top three by unexpectedly beating Rob Huff into third place. Colin Turkington finished up fifth in his first appearance in a West Surrey Racing-run Cruze, having earlier topped the first practice session.

Stefano D’Aste claimed P6 in his Wiechers-Sport BMW ahead of Tuenti Racing Team SEAT ace Pepe Oriola and Friday test pacesetter Alex MacDowall of bamboo engineering. Gabriele Tarquini and Tom Coronel will share the fifth row of the grid for Sunday’s first race before starting from the front of the reverse grid for race two.

Aleksei Dudukalo will start both races from 11th, while Fredy Barth was impressive on his WTCC comeback after nearly a year away to get into Q2 and will lineup 12th.

Mehdi Bennani and Darryl O’Young were the first of those denied a place in Q2 and will share the seventh row for both races ahead of the Team Aon Ford of James Nash and the second Tuenti SEAT of Fernando Monje. After strong pace earlier in the weekend, Tiago Monteiro had to settle for 17th place in the second qualifying session for the new Honda Civic.

Charles Ng, Alberto Cerqui and Tom Boardman completed the top 20, ahead of Franz Engstler and Tom Chilton. Hugo Valente will start 23rd for his WTCC debut ahead of local entries Eric Kwong, Kelvin Leong, Kin Veng Ng and Filipe de Souza. Alex Liu was absent from the session in his Engstler-entered BMW.

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